Approaches to Inclusion. Institutional and Professional Requirements for its Implementation in the EFL Classroom

Term Paper, 2016

18 Pages, Grade: 1,3



Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Inclusion as a Human Right
2.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
2.2 Salamanca (1994)
2.3 The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)

3. What is Inclusion?
3.1 Integration and Inclusion
3.2 Inclusion and Inclusive Schools

4. Institutional and Professional Requirements of Inclusive Education
4.1 Structural Elements of Inclusive Education
4.2 Institutional and Professional Requirements

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1. Introduction

When it comes to the topic inclusion, it is very hard to keep it simple, as the term itself carries a wide complexity and paradoxical elements. It opens up a broad field within the social, theoretical and practical contexts. Since The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, inclusion became a legally binding right, and its implications within the educational system are immense. The concept of inclusive pedagogy and inclusive classroom became important to the EFL classroom. The most recent scientific literature I have used in this paper is Katzenbach’s contribution from 2015. He speaks of the “Verwahrlosung eines Begriffs” (Katzenbach 2015: 19). This is well-said on his part, as it is difficult to find a precise definition of inclusion. Within the seminar Inclusion and Differentiation - Methods Embracing All Students in the Modern EFL Classroom, we concentrated for the most part on practical expressions of the idea of inclusion regarding inclusive didactics and inclusive methods. As a future teacher, I am grateful for any practical tools I can use to teach prospective students in the EFL classroom. However, the question that lingers is, why should I even care about inclusive didactics and methods in the first place? What is the basis and fundamental idea behind this? For me, this paper is a search for the reason why I should consider inclusive methods. I want to take a step back and inquire about the basics of inclusion. Where does it come from? What is its history within legal rights, and what concepts are there to define the term inclusion? How did the UN Convention affect requirements that relate to institutional and professional foundations?

The three main questions concern inclusion as a human right, concepts and definitions of inclusion, and the institutional and professional requirements of an inclusive school system. I will present scientific approaches and attempts to determine similarities and differences. I will start out with a selective chronological order of the legal historical declarations and conventions of inclusion, aiming to provide a basis for the definition of the term and its practical influence. The definition of the term inclusion is important to show the diversity of approaches and descriptions. I will start out with the comparison of inclusion to integration, and continue with its connection to inclusive schools and inclusive education. In the last chapter I will present structural necessities in the original form of the UN Convention and discuss requirements concerning the level of institutions and professionals.

2. Inclusion as a Human Right

Inclusion is not merely a theme of the pedagogical branch, but an essential international idea to obtain and implement it as a human right into education. In political dimensions, inclusion is implemented in declarations and is the basis of central ideas of UNESCO and the UN. This chapter will give a brief historical survey with focus of its legal milestones.

2.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 in Paris, France. In the gloomy aftermath of World War II, this historic milestone was the first international declaration and agreement on the basic values of human rights, namely dignity, equality and fairness. The members have since been obligated to represent and observe the rights and freedoms of humans. It is the explicit commitment of the United Nations to the fundamentality of universal human rights, and sets the basis of international humanitarian law (cf. UN 1948). In Article 26 the rights to education are declared. “Everyone has the right to education. [...] Education should be directed to the full development of the human personality [...] It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups [...] Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” (UN 1948: 1f).

2.2 Salamanca (1994)

The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education was adopted by the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality in Salamanca, Spain, 7-10 June in 1994. 300 representatives of 92 governments and 25 international organizations met to discuss and support opportunities for an inclusive educational system that allows Education for All. Main topics concerned the political changes that are required to support an inclusive pedagogy. A basic requirement is the development of awareness that every child is an individual with distinct abilities and needs. Therefore, children need to be supported individually. With the Salamanca statement, politics are required to acknowledge and enact this basic principle of inclusive pedagogy. Particularly, all member states are required to dismantle barriers. It is constructed to cultivate school systems for the purpose of the statement. It also promotes cooperation between countries in order to use and assess experiences from one another and to sustain and help each other concerning successes, obstacles and general experiences (cf. UNESCO 1994).

2.3 The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2006, came into effect in 2008, and was ratified in 2009. Along with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it was the first time the concept of inclusion came into legal character. With the ratification of the convention, Germany set out to change their policies and laws in accordance with the legally binding rights. This means that the requirements of equality, equal treatment, and independent and autonomous living of persons with disabilities now reach into all areas of life. In Article 2 the convention discusses discrimination and defines that every action or omission that results in the exclusion of a person with disabilities and even “the denial of reasonable accommodations as discrimination” (UN 2006: Article 2). Article 4 declares the general obligation of the states to adapt laws and procedural arrangements to the obligations of the convention and phrase actions for its realization. Resources should be used to their full extent. The article also formulates the task of implementing direct action. Article 8 concerns the creation of awareness against discrimination, prejudice and disadvantage through public relations.

In Article 24 the areas of education and school are elaborated. It contains the obligation of the signatories to ensure that “...on the basis of equal opportunity, State Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels.” (UN 2006: Article 24). With Article 24, the right for children with disabilities to attend regular school also has a clear legal basis. Signatories must additionally ensure that their legal and judicial systems make the changes in accordance with the legal requirements. The federal states are compelled to change the terms of educational laws and to protect an educational system free of discrimination (Lindmeier 2008: 354). The important factor here is the implication of the Convention as a normative human right and not merely concerning education policy. These rights are innate, unalienable, egalitarian, indivisible and universal.

The signatories also commit themselves to an inclusive educational system that allows free access for all people no matter what their disabilities may be. This matter has to be recognized at all levels of education. The guarantee of access to regular schools includes the legal obligation to meet special needs properly and to develop education free of any discrimination. This is facilitated by the acknowledgement and employment of competent, qualified personnel and technical devices as well as barrier-free ways of communication. The goal of this action is to ensure an ideal academic and social development of persons with disabilities and the barrier-free participation in society at every stage of life (Bundesgesetzblatt 2008: Teil II Nr. 35).

German federal states have great freedom in how they implement laws. Consequently, the rights of the parents and persons with disabilities are bound to the interpretation and layout of these freedoms. Whether or not the goals of these disability laws can be met depends on the personnel, neutral and organized opportunities. (Bohm 2012: 224).

3. What is Inclusion?

There is only limited space in this seminar paper to provide a definition of the term inclusion. It will lack an in-depth description to display the current and ongoing discussion about the term inclusion, and in particular, the terms connected to it: education, heterogeneity, difference/otherness and diversity. With the definition, comparison, and distinction of integration and inclusion related to the educational sector, I hope to target and clear up the confusion about the term and simultaneously present different perspectives. The problem that arises in regard to this term and the context of equality and difference will also be discussed. Article 24 of the UN Convention directly affects the educational system and demands an end to the segregation and selection of persons in order to establish educational justice.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term inclusion as “the act of including someone or something as part of a group, list, etc., or a person or thing that is included.” In the context of education and social sciences, inclusion is “the idea that everyone should be able to use the same facilities, take part in the same activities, and enjoy the same experiences, including people who have a disability or other disadvantages” ( Following Hans Wockens’ concept of inclusion in regard to the quality of inclusion1, different levels of separation and integration can be used to specify and define inclusion and how well it is integrated into the education system. In early levels, separation is vital to the right to education and pedagogical support. The disabled are schooled in special schools separate from persons without disabilities, following the slogan separate but equal. The level of integration contains the right to community, participation and solidary consent. Persons with disabilities are at this point integrated into regular schools. The level of inclusion represents the recognition of the human rights-based form of integration. Diversity is the norm, and also regarded as a positive attribute. Persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities are schooled together notwithstanding their special needs (Wocken 2014: 75).

3.1 Integration and Inclusion

Integration and inclusion are occasionally synonymously used terms. Inclusion can be seen as an advanced form of integration, or as superseding integration (Sander 1994: 104). Additionally, at times the terms are used distinctly separate from one another to convey different meanings (Hinz 2002: 1). The German translation of the UN Convention translates the term inclusion into the German word for “Integration”. If this was an intentional move to avoid any obligations related to an inclusive concept, or if the terms are simply used synonymously, regardless of conceptual obligations, is critically questioned in some scientific literature. The ultimate verdict, however, still remains unclear.

In 1995, Feuser defined integration as a general child-centered and basal pedagogy. All children with or without disabilities should learn together in cooperative environments based on their respective level of development, and also with regard to their zone of proximal development. All children should play, learn and work on Qualitätsstufen derBehindertenpolitik und-pädagogik. (0. Extinktion, 1. Exklusion, 2. Separation, 3. Integration, 4. Inklusion), (Wocken 2014, p.75). This outline of classifications does not merely reflect a timely evolution, but also describes historical and present forms of development.

ONE subject (Feuser 1995: 173f). Environmental conditions need to adapt to the child in order to make them less disabled. Schools should be regulated so that children can attend the school closest to their residential area. This enables the ideal support for the child at school through specific assistance and social acceptance. Disability is based on environmental conditions, not the person itself (Sander 1994: 105). This definition resembles basic inclusive demands. However, in order to get the ideal support and access to financial and personnel resources, children need to be labelled as children with special educational needs contrary to normal children without special educational needs. The resources go directly to the school and are bound to the children. (Haß 2012: 257). One main difference between integration and inclusion that some make is the legal right of parents to send their children to the school of their choice. Regardless, children still need to be diagnosed with special educational needs in order to receive the support they need (Haß 2012: 258). It appears that the theoretical term inclusion goes far beyond the practical uses. Within an inclusive educational school system, students learn together regardless of their learning preconditions. Every child obtains the individual and specific support they need, no matter which label they may have.

Furthermore, the theoretical and practical contradictions of the inclusion are examined thoroughly by Katzenbach (2015). He verifies that there is still no clear definition or categorization of the term. “Im Falle der Inklusion scheint es aber zu einer regelrechten Verwahrlosung des Begriffs gekommen zu sein.” (Katzenbach 2015: 19). Here inclusion appears as the programmatic replacement of integration. Motifs are, firstly, to initiate movement and to criticize maldevelopment in the process of integration, specifically in the educational sector, and secondly, the right to continued development (Katzenbach 2015: 19f). Within the field of special education, the term integration is predominantly used in relation to persons with disabilities, as inclusion is guaranteed to all people that are threatened or affected by marginalization (Katzenbach 2015: 20). Within the theoretical discussion, he states that the UN Convention has a clear normative statement, but claims “[...], dass die Programmatik der Inklusion sich in gesellschaftlichen Spannungsverhältnissen bewegt, die keine einfache Lösung zulässt.” (Katzenbach 2015: 23). Tensions are created by the “(De-) Thematisierung” of differences and the relation of Honneth’s concept of the “egalitäre Differenz” to the meritocratic principle (Katzenbach 2015: 23).


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Approaches to Inclusion. Institutional and Professional Requirements for its Implementation in the EFL Classroom
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